Dunlop charge could be the value bet
Last Updated: 06/07/12 5:05pm
Ed Dunlop can saddle a welcome winner in Testosterone
It will take something of a leap of faith to support Bonfire in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on Saturday, but in the absence of a rock-solid favourite, he rates a value bet.
So You Think's 11th-hour withdrawal through injury has robbed the Group One event of its headline act, with the ex-Australian superstar due to have enjoyed his swansong before returning to stud in his native country.
However, Bonfire can use the situation to his advantage and atone for a lacklustre effort in the Investec Derby last time.
Placed at the highest level in France as a juvenile, Bonfire was all the rage for Epsom after turning in a faultless performance on his reappearance in the Dante at York.
The Manduro colt went into the Derby rated just a few pounds behind Camelot but the gap turned out to be much wider than that as Bonfire trailed home just over 13 lengths back in sixth.
However, Andrew Balding's charge clearly did not handle the Epsom cambers that day and, given that his half-sister Joviality is top-class over a mile, the mile-and-a-half trip looked beyond his capabilities.
Dropping back to 10 furlongs looks wise and he has shown in the past he can handle a bit of cut, should the forecast rain arrive in Esher.
Certainly he has plenty to find with the likes of Cityscape, Nathaniel and Monterosso, but the Eclipse has proved a rich hunting ground for three-year-olds in the past and the 12lb pull in the weights can only be a positive.
Spirit Quartz was far from disgraced when fifth in the King's Stand Stakes and must surely have a live chance in the Coral Charge.
A Group Three winner in Italy, he has acquitted himself well in six starts for Robert Cowell so far, culminating in his four-and-a-half-length defeat at Ascot.
He was also not beaten far by Bated Breath at Haydock in May and having shown he can operate on almost any ground, Spirit Quartz is one for the shortlist.
Testosterone flopped on her debut for Ed Dunlop but this 1.2 million guineas purchase can bounce back in the bet365 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock.
A winner at Group Two and Three level in France last year, the Dansili filly also finished a creditable second to Galikova in the Prix Vermeille.
She was well beaten in the Arc before heading to the sales, where owner Nurlan Bizakov splashed plenty of cash to add her to his team.
Dunlop made no secret about needing the outing in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot, a race which was a tough ask on her British debut.
She blew up and beat just one horse home, but Dunlop knows the time of day with fillies and the booking of Johnny Murtagh only strengthens confidence.
Quiz Mistress looks the type to spring a minor surprise in a big race one of these days and her time can come in the bet365 Old Newton Cup.
This ultra-competitive heat is always tough to interpret but Quiz Mistress arrives on the back of a clear-cut success at Salisbury last time.
That was her second win in three starts for trainer Hughie Morrison and the four-year-old could still be on a handy mark.
Bond Fastrac can add to his victory at Beverley last month with success in the Coachman Caravans Quality Handicap back on the Westwood.
BELLEWSTOWN: 5.25 Zerashan, 5.55 Cullentry Royal, 6.25 Maggie Sue, 6.55 Whodoyouthink, 7.25 Without The Bop, 7.55 Usa, 8.25 Pique Sous.
BEVERLEY: 1.55 Rosie Hall, 2.30 Horatio Carter, 3.00 Avec Rose, 3.35 Bond Fastrac, 4.10 Light Zabeel, 4.45 Mistress Of Rome, 5.20 Legal Bond.
HAYDOCK: 2.20 Atlantic Sport, 2.55 Testosterone, 3.25 Quiz Mistress, 4.00 Rated, 4.35 Gabrial The Great, 5.10 Morache Music, 5.40 Tango Sky.
SANDOWN: 1.30 Ivor's Princess, 2.05 Spirit Quartz, 2.40 Spa's Dancer, 3.10 Kunooz, 3.45 BONFIRE (NAP), 4.20 Chiberta King, 4.55 Goodwood Atlantis.
DOUBLE: Bonfire and Testosterone.